I used to start the day by reading some of the news headlines on my phone. As an adult, it’s what you do, right?

And then I stopped, because it always made me into the cliché of the century. I would storm out into the kitchen and shout at my husband: ‘We need to get out. Now is the time. Buy a farm, learn to grow stuff, get some cows and sheep!’ Husband would pause and calmly say: ‘But you are allergic. And I like it here.’ Me, frustrated: ‘Never mind that! Viruses, empty shelves in the supermarket, violence, greed!’ And then to finish on a high: ‘Is that what you want for our children?’ Husband would shrug, wise to my panicky manipulative skills by now.

Then I’d rush the kids to school, jackets open, hats stuffed in pockets, bags hanging on elbows, my heart beating fast. Is today the day society collapses? Will I have time to pick up the kids? Do we have enough petrol to get away? Where would we go?

And then I’d run into my neighbours, who’d smile at me and ask how things are and we’d have a quick chat before continuing up to school. There, I’d meet other parents who’d wave at me and make jokes about the state of the world and I’d realise that if I moved to the countryside to be allergic, I would also be much more isolated.

If you are a survivalist, you must really love life as you would be the only one left eating mushrooms in your tiny self-built hut when the rest of society has fallen. I don’t think I love life that much. But I do love people. Yes, that is what I want for my children – people.

Gabi Froden

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